A modern day re-telling of any Jane Austen novel is always something deserving of attention. Whether or not it will be worth it is another story all together. This happens to be a Bollywood version of Pride & Prejudice. Inspired by the genre, it’s a fun contemporary tale full of colorful choreographed song and dance numbers, each of which are irresistibly charming. All pf this leaves you with a smile on your face long after the final credits have roll.
Bride and Prejudice (2004) Film Review
Life in India is difficult for the Bakshi family. A struggling farmer with four unmarried daughters, Mr. Bakshi isn’t the only person with a challenge on his hands among his fellow countrymen. Mrs. Bakshi however has much different thoughts occupying her time. All she wants is to marry her daughter to wealthy men. The first opportunity presents itself at the rehearsal party of her daughter’s friend. A wealthy English businessman with Indian ancestry is the best man to the groom, and nothing is more perfect! Mrs. Bakshi hopes one of her girls will catch the man’s eye.
Eldest Jaya (Namrata Shiodkar) instantly catches the attention of Balrai Bingley (Naveen Andrews) with her quiet grace and beauty. Lalita (Aishwarya Rai) finds herself oddly intrigued by the American businessman and friend of Balrai, Will Darcy (Martin Henderson). As a guest of Balrai and his snotty sister, Will is less than impressed by his friends’ culture. Will’s more uptight opinions soon turn off Lalita. Only trouble is, this leads to a new kind of sparks between them.
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I LOVE this movie. Perhaps it’s the choreography or the story or the acting, but whatever the infectious “it” factor is here. The movie is one of those “on a whim” movie rentals that is subsequently so endearing. It one of those happy re-watches that I love, every time I do it’s quick to remind me what a true gem this is. That’s not to say Bride and Prejudice for everyone, because really it is quite unique in its own right.
The musical numbers sparkle as does the scenery and gorgeous, bright costumes. To all of this plus my love of the original material, and this musical has an irresistible pull. Some of the numbers can be too long (like the “shopping sequence”) but again, each have such infectious energy, we forgive anything. (Also have to shout-out the “No Life without Wife” number as an adorable good-natured and sisterly scene of teasing.) Not many of the actors are particularly well-known but the cast is solid nonetheless. Henderson and Rai have a fabulous chemistry. Additionally there’s a couple of cameo performances by some familiar talent including Alexis Bledel (Gilmore Girls) and Marsha Mason.
All in all, the movie is energetic and a lot of fun. The dialect can be difficult to decipher at times even though the language is in English, it’s the accents. It does have some misplaced shot successions, but then it also features several stunning scenes such as the waterfall sequence or the “date scene” between Will and Lalita.
If you’re an Austen fan or enjoy musicals, give this one a try; this will pull you into world of colorful dance and music that you’ll be sad to see come to an end.
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You can find Bride and Prejudice digitally on Amazon Video
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CONTENT: there are a few minor innuendoes. A young girl makes plans to run away with someone and there is a covert reference to a possible abortion. The film is PG13